Not long ago, two members of our AFP staff became National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coaches! Judy Grupenhoff and Liz Gelotte completed hours of training to achieve this certification and we are so proud of them both. Judy and Liz took a few minutes out of their busy day to talk more about what it means to work for Atkinson Family Practice and how being a NBC-HWC (that’s National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach!) will impact how they service our patients at AFP.
AFP: Tell us about how you started at AFP and what jobs you have had since you started.
Judy: I have been at AFP for about a year and a half. I am a HeartMath® Certified Trainer and Interventions Professional. When I started at AFP, I primarily used the techniques and biofeedback technology developed by the HeartMath Institute to help people learn how to lower stress and manage anxiety.
Liz: I started at AFP as a medical assistant in the clinical department. I also worked as a scribe for Charles Milch. During that time I learned a lot about the patient experience; from taking vitals to the provider’s recommendations and follow-up plan. I next transitioned to scribe with Jessica Jimison full-time. This was at the very beginning of her functional medicine education in 2016. Throughout my time as Jessica’s scribe I learned the benefit of approaching chronic disease from a functional and holistic standpoint.
AFP: What made you decide to become a health coach?
Judy: I was drawn to coaching because I have always believed that people have more strengths and a greater capacity for change than they realize. I also believe that health and well-being are impacted by multiple interconnected dimensions – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Coaching allows me to support clients in drawing on their strengths and insights to implement healthy behaviors across these various dimensions into their lives. Coaching is a partnership; patients are the experts in their lives and are in the driver’s seat when it comes to what they want to change and how they want to proceed. I support and guide the change process and help them move toward their health and wellness goals in realistic, practical ways. Often, one successful change leads to others. I love seeing how empowered patients feel when they make changes they never thought they could make.
Liz: Jessica learned about the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy through her education at the Institute for Functional Medicine. She recommended the program to me because a health coach could be a great addition to the Function Medicine department and the practice. I also appreciated that my general knowledge of functional medicine would be a great foundation on which to build a coaching practice. I liked the idea of being able to support people through lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and stress management.
AFP: What does becoming a National Board Certified health coach entail?
Liz: To become a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC) I completed an accredited certification program; the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy. I then logged at least 50 coaching sessions. I was fortunate enough to be able to obtain these with some of the patients at AFP. Then, after studying, I sat for, and passed, the board certification exam. The exam covered the coaching structure, coaching process, health and wellness knowledge, and ethics.
Judy: To be eligible for the National Board Certification for Health & Wellness Coaches (NBC-HWC), I had to complete an approved coaching program, complete 50 coaching sessions, and take the NBC-HWC exam. I completed the Integrative Health and Wellness coaching program at Duke Integrative Medicine in June 2019 and passed the national board exam in April 2020.
AFP: Do you have any specialties within the health coaching field that you are thinking about pursuing?
Liz: Through my training at the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy I have gained some specialized knowledge which allows me to help patients who are working with Jessica for Functional Medicine. I can also coach anyone within the practice, even if they are not doing functional medicine. The premise of health coaching is to be able to support anyone to work towards their health goals. For that reason, it is best to have more general knowledge about all aspects of health and wellness.
Judy: I have a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with a particular focus on stress, anxiety, and the neurobiology of change. I specialize in working with patients who want to make lifestyle changes to address physical issues that are caused or exacerbated by stress or anxiety – things like chronic digestive issues, hypertension, headaches, or fatigue.
AFP: Are you both available to see new patients? What would you like to let the AFP family know about how to set up an appointment with you?
Judy & Liz: Yes, we are accepting new patients. Health coaching visits are billed to your insurance just like other primary care appointments. Patients do not need a recommendation from their PCP to make an appointment with us. Currently, all visits are virtual. During the state of emergency, there are no co-pays for tele-visits.
If you would like to set up an appointment, please go to atkinsonfamilypractice.com/ services/ and scroll down to the “Health & Wellness Coaching” section. There you will find the Coaching Agreement and Policies. Once that has been signed, you can submit electronically and call the front desk to schedule a virtual appointment.
To book an appointment with either Judy or Liz, call 413-549-8400.